Social Media Literacy

After talking a great deal about media literacy in this class and some others, I began to assess my own aptitude in sifting through the mass amounts of information on the Internet. One of the first frontiers I considered was Facebook. As far as rhetorical strategies are concerned in social media, the act of sharing has to be the most powerful of all. While sharing a comical picture is quite harmless, many users attempt to throw their opinions or embarrassingly incorrect information in the rest of their friends’ faces by sharing it and, therefore, forcing it into the Newsfeeds of others. It amuses me that the act of “sharing” on Facebook is not very similar to the actual real world act of sharing. When someone shares something with another person, it is usually someone they know or are acquainted with, and this person, either directly or indirectly, has expressed some sort of desire for the shared item. Either that, or the person sharing thinks that the other party needs what they’re sharing. I can confidently say that I have neither expressed a desire nor felt grateful for a large amount of the things shared onto my Newsfeed. However, there are some times where the information is useful and I am thankful.

After considering the rhetorical aspects, I reflected more on my own interaction with sharing. Sometimes I am appreciative of the shared information and sometimes I am enraged, but I am always critical of the sources, which, seemingly, have become less and less credible. This is especially apparent in “news” links from friends who share information from sites with ridiculous and polarizing headlines aimed at drawing in personalities like theirs with sensational stories. While I may have been quick to scoff at the posts and the people posting them, I tried to remember a time in my life when this type of online rhetoric affected me. I’m still working through this and I will post more when I can locate the types of sites that I was attracted to when I was younger, less knowledgeable about the internet and much less media literate. A lot of the sites I see now remind me of headlines I would read in tabloids and publications like The National Enquirer…

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